Today world is an omni disruptive world. There is a sense of urgency to streamline the way of life we are leading. AI enabled products & services, Deep Learning, IOT, Blockchain, Digital Currencies, Robotics are here & they are going to create a wave of change across. Existing core industries as well as emerging startups have taken the leap to embrace the upcoming technologies, aligning them in their DNA to bring about the CHANGE in their current ways of working. But these disruptive changes come up with a constant factor- the factor of UNCERTAINTY. One who decodes this factor with speed survives & the one who doesn’t perish. It is not about just finding solutions, but finding them faster and accurately. The thought of finding a solution brings to the point of generating ideas. With the world changing, it’s time we adopt newer ways to generate ideas with speed and accuracy. A good lean Six Sigma project would result in faster and accurate process, isn’t it? Let us look at idea generation through the lens of Lean Six Sigma and how a proprietary game based tool doHow® has embraced the change and has come out with the most efficient ways of generating ideas.

Let me take a step back and talk about the man behind the product doHow® , Mr. Dinakar Murthy Krishna. Mr. Dinakar is a thinker and one of the fastest grown leaders in Bosch India. I was fortunate to work with him for a short period of time and have continued my valuable association with him till date.

doHow® is a methodology developed for execution excellence, building through collaborative quick discovery of out-of-the-box solutions. doHow® methodology creates flow of free thought, but focused towards solving the problem, it helps you nail down the solution very accurately with speed.

Have you ever thought of calculating process efficiency for idea generating process, be it brainstorming or brain writing or be it SCAMPER or six thinking hats? Have you realized Random word technique does not move beyond regular word like table, chair, mobile phone, car, bus, etc. leaving very less chance for facilitator to facilitate the discussion and come out with Amazing ideas and give you that WOW factor. There are lots of non-value added activities that get built. Very basic rule of any brainstorming is to encourage everyone to come up with as many ideas, though we tend to go south in idea generation sometime. How about reducing non-value added activities and increasing the efficiency of idea generation itself.

Let’s look at some of the drawbacks of current idea generating techniques straight away and also look at how doHow® solves it before we play the doHow® game.

I will use the Lean Analogy to classify the challenges in current technique

Let us start with most important waste Defect, for the sake of understanding, let us define defect as an idea which is far away from acceptance. Don’t we produce plenty of them, the answer is yes. Why does it happen? The answer is simple - there is a high tendency to lose focus once we are in discussion & no structured mechanism to bring back the discussion to the core subject.

How does doHow® help? doHow® is a focused idea generating technique, it helps the team keep focus by stimulating the players thought with the right set of cards which leads to keep their energy focused. If you are solving a Supply chain related problem, then the cards are designed to think in the direction of SCM with enough stimulation to think out of the box - the result is that idea generation is to the target.

Next is Motion/ Transportation. Let us assume unnecessary movement of mind as motion/transportation waste (I am not sure if you has done this kind of analogy in the past, but please bear it with me for a while). I am sure each one of you agree generating an idea is not an easy task for few, as mind & thoughts are free flowing and difficult to put them under control to focus towards idea generation. Few participants find it extremely difficult to think of an idea, as they can not focus.

Have you realized how we get involved when we watch a movie? We are focused - isn’t it? That’s what doHow® will do for you. Each player has to start performing as per the card, he does not have to think too much to perform. While one of the players perform the act, others including the player who is performing are able to generate ideas from the free flow of thoughts stimulated by the card. Moreover there is no compulsion to generate idea and time is limited, making it more productive.

Overproduction & Over processing - Ideas have to be generated in plenty, but it should not be confined to one line of thought. Most of the ideas generated either meaning the same or diving deep into the solution too early are examples of over processing of an idea too early. This happens when the participant loves an idea and gets involved too deeply into it & fails to look at the other side of the coin. The root cause for these two types of waste are no time restriction & lack of a structured approach to shift idea provocation to a new direction.

In doHow® every round is unique in its own way & has time restriction (which can be pre-set as per the requirement) this leads to reduction in overproduction & over processing of the ideas and enable the player to look for idea generation with a holistic approach.

Unevenness/Inconsistency Despite giving an equal opportunity for all to participate, it is often observed that one or few of the participants will steal the show, whereas others may not get a chance to participate resulting in them contributing very few or no ideas. This is not a positive sign but inevitable.

What doHow® does beautifully is that through the game every player gets a chance to speak/perform. While one player performs, co-players get a chance to think through and generate ideas & write down. In addition, this also gives opportunity for an extrovert to switch to listening mode, and I personally found the quality of ideas are strengthened in few of the extroverts through this process.

Overburdened, being in either of the shoes participant or a facilitator, have you ever felt, oh my God, I am not getting an idea, what to do? and the mind is fully stressed out? This negates the free flow of thought. A stressed mind will find it difficult to get good ideas, especially when time is running out.

In doHow® , life is a lot easier. Mind is stress free. Mind is stimulated to generate ideas and the free flow of thoughts is obvious. A clear mind can generate worthy ideas. I have observed that those participants who barely interacted or shared their views, have come up with 10+ ideas using doHow, which is a great shift actually. Especially considering the fact that we don’t know which idea will bring the next technology on the table and make an impact on mankind.

Waiting - As a rule of brainstorming, it is important to give everyone a chance to come up with ideas, isn’t it? Have you waited for someone to come up with an idea which is a “waiting waste” of Lean. Participant is not able to think, and we are forcing him to think, and we all know it sometimes becomes extremely tiring for the whole team. In doHow® , the rule is simple, you are not able to generate an idea in one of the rounds, do not worry. You have many more rounds to get ideas and you do not have to wait for anyone, neither there is a stress to think.

Monotonous - Everyone needs change. How many times have you dragged your feet to brainstorming sessions? Especially knowing the fact that no results were found in the last brainstorming session and there seems no hope of the same this time either, ever wondered why? Because it is a task after all, not a game.

Have you noticed, I have been talking about players in doHow® . Yes! doHow® is a beautiful game like a snake and ladder. There are lot of fun elements built, for example, the energizer card bring back the energy in the team which is a must. There is a storytelling activity, where the player just needs to narrate a story which is fun. I have seen some of the players sharing very personal heart touching stories enabling great bonding & team work. Brian Tracy, in his book Maximum Achievement says, best performing companies are those where employees laugh a lot. The same happens in doHow® , and automatically you see the performance going up.

In the beginning, I have mentioned that doHow® is developed for execution excellence. Well, you must be wondering that with or without doHow® we already have lots of ideas and the challenge is in implementing – like Thomas Alva Edison’s early 20th century quote “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Of course, it is!

The first two success factors for execution excellence 1) Aim and Strive Achieving Amazing outcomes and 2) Inclusiveness, Inspiration and Engagement with Ideation are intrinsic in the doHow® Game. Checklist based doHow® Timeout Consultancoaching during the regular Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Reviews address the other success factors for execution excellence 3) Intense Focus (Less is More principle), 4) Visualised Scoreboards (Quick Common Understanding of Reality), 5) Clarity of Roles and Responsibilities for Accountability (Synergy through Collaboration), 6) Decisions taken are implemented (Quick validation of effectiveness) and 7) Regular praise even for small successes (Building Team Trust).

I have been using doHow® from the time I learned about it, be it in my Lean Six Sigma training sessions or consulting assignments & I found it ultra-light as a facilitator. I have used it for my own start-up’s growth and it has given me results all the time. The last time I used doHow® during one of my consulting assignments with one of the fastest growing financial company, people had loads of fun, joy, jumping and came out with absolutely worthy ideas in short span of time & on a subjective measurement of my own, the process efficiency is multiplied by 5 times with doHow®. I have played with my seven year old daughter, she was able to figure out solutions her own way, so as a father I don’t have to worry about telling her what to do, just play the game and allow her to find out & I definitely can’t do brainstorming with her.

I will leave at this now, and allow you to explore further, there are many other features which will take you by surprise and make you fall in love with the game. Time to check out doHow® and have the best of the times with your loved ones!

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Srinivas V